The legalization of cannabis in Canada. Case studies: British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec. Literature review

This report analyzes the regulation of cannabis in Canada, as well as the political, economic and social impact of the policies adopted.

Using data allowing a comparative analysis of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, we take into account the political choices mad e by stakeholders at the federal and provincial levels and known effects of these choices since the legalization of recreational cannabis on 17 October 2018. To do this, we rely on both a systematic review of scientific research, a review of relevant institutional documents and a series of 30 interviews conducted with stakeholders of cannabis legalization in the three provinces studied.

In the first section, we provide a historical background on cannabis policy in Canada and discuss the initial goals of legalization. In the second section, we compare cannabis policies across Canada with a particular attention to the three provinces studied. In the third section, we briefly discuss the role of medical cannabis policies. The fourth and fifth sections respectively analyze the development of a legal cannabis industry and the economic effects of legalization across Canada.

After discussing the political and economic issues of the legalization, we proceed in the sixth section to an exploratory analysis of the effects of legalization on public health. In the seventh section, we review the effects of legalization on criminality. In section eight, we describe some of the disparities in the implementation of cannabis policies. The last section concludes the analysis by presenting some preliminary learned-lessons.

Ultimately, this synthetic work can lay the foundations for more in-depth assessments of the challenges of legalization of cannabis in Canada.

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Products & addictions
Public policy and healthcare provision
Penal response
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Dispositif d'enquête et d'observation
Public policy analysis